Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

Productive...on the wrong things.

I've learned a lot of new phrases on this site-time binging, demand resistance, etc. But is there a name for when you are being very, very productive on a task in order to subconsciously (or consicously) neglect another?

I recently moved away to law school and got my first apartment. For awhile I mainained a good balance of cleaning, studying, and exercising. But lately I've been slipping. I tend to let dishes and laundry pile up until the weekend. Then, in a blaze of glory, I get all of these tasks done Saturday and half the day Sunday. By the end I have a spotless apartment and scramble to start my schoolwork on a Sunday. While I'm working I feel proud of myself for getting things done (not that I shouldn't, I have to clean!) but it's often at the expense of work that is actually due or will make a difference in my grade.

I think that I time binge on things like cleaning in order to avoid more urgent tasks like studying. And I'll study in order to avoid more urgent tasks like writing a memo. I'll get all of my reading done for the week but I have to scramble to finish a writing assignment. So for me, procrastination isn't always about avoiding [i]any[/i] work. It's about avoiding whatever is least pleasant at the moment. But I don't know how to describe this correctly or if there's a term for it, and I'm not sure how to stop this specific pattern of behavior. If I laid out what I did all day for someone else, they'd say "Wow, you were really productive!" If they don't realize what I should have gotten done instead, or if they don't realize that I'm just creating extra work for myself in the long run.

Displacement activity

Is it a kind of displacement activity?

In that because you feel frustrated or anxious about the schoolwork you jump back to self-care calming behaviour?


I think so. However, it's

I think so. However, it's not that the work is particularly calming in and of itself. For example, if I was completely caught up on schoolwork and the only thing I "had" to do or that needed to be done was the housework, I would probably procrastinate on that as well. (Although I'm not sure that fact matters.)

As Homer Simpson said, "Trying is the first step toward failure" so I suppose that my anxiety about the schoolwork/being tested is what's keeping me from moving forward on it.  

hi Odette, same pattern

hi Odette, same pattern happneing here too. I try to give myself a break about it becasue it feels better than doing nothing. I enjoy this as a way of thinking about the behavour. I know it's kind of jokey in tone and that this is a serious problem in many of our lives but I also think that there is some truth in it.

ms. x 

What a helpful post. Thank

What a helpful post. Thank you I was thinking of posting on similar lines - no I was not putting off posting I had not clarified my ideas which I have now.

For me I think demand resistance provides an explanation.

I make a list of things todo. Then I resent having to do them so I do something else instead. The something else might be something useful and worthwhile but I feel I am giving up responsibility in not chosing what to do or perhaps more accurately not following through on what I had chosen to do.

My present example is that I am sitting at my work table looking over it to a clean clear sorted set of shelves containing books and files. All of my material to write a book is now ordered and on one shelf. Previously when I sat at my table to write my book I felt dishearted with the mess at which I was looking.

So now it is clean and clear and I have not written a word today.